Every Friday, The Road to Mordor brings you the latest in Lord of the Rings Online news, guides and analysis.

Lord of the Ring Online's Volume III, Book 1 patch is still humming along on the test server. New dev diaries have rolled out going over the new class skills (which are really just updated old class skills) and new crafting changes (mostly for farmers, cooks and jewelery crafters.) Duo skirmishes and the new epic quest line is being tested as well as the new solo mechanic for the 6-man encounters in the Volume I epic line. But that's not what today's column is about.

Instead, I'm taking a look at the questions players are asking on LotRO forums. Join me for a look into the ramifications of the Lone-lands revamp, leveling characters solely on Skirmishes, farming marks the fastest way possible and the best way to get Legendary fragments for crafting. Plus, a quick look at the latest fan created content.
Lone-land revamp: Great idea or horrible plan for all original zones?
TheCrusher writes on the official forums "Lone Lands, in my opinion, is now the easiest joke of an area there is. Every single quest that used to be difficult is now so easy an 11 year old could do it. Please, I implore you, dont dumb down North Downs like you did the Lone Lands."

This is a common complaint among long time fans of any MMORPG. As time goes on, low level groups become harder to find and this discourages new players. Game companies revamp original content to make a more streamlined experience knowing that many players just want to get to the high level content to be with their friends. Other games try different tactics such as selling experience bonus potions for real money or giving players the ability to grant entire levels to others they invite into the game.

Turbine hasn't announced any plans to revamp the other original zones in the game. They focused on Lone-lands as it was one of the hardest early-level zones to solo and they probably had internal data showing too many new users canceling their subscription at that point. Though it may ruin your nostalgia of the days when you had group your way through early content, the overall health of the game is more important and that means making it easier for new players to progress solo.
Is it possible to level my character solely on Skirmishes?
Borstan The White writes on the official forums: "Is quest leveling 1-40 through standard quests then from 40-65 through skirmishes possible? I mean why not skip 40-65 quests...You can get all your class quest items, LI item upgrades, IXP, and gear through skirmishes. Part of the issue is I have run the zones/quests multiple times and the time wasted running around the zones hurts. I'd rather just power level through skirmishes if possible then head to PVMP...Can someone really skip Moria and Mirkwood and get to 65 through Skirmishes?"

First, a clarification. You can begin Skirmishes at level 30. The answer to his question is, yes, you can level a character from 30 to 65 solely doing Skirmishes. Skirmishes reward players with XP and currency that can be used to buy equipment upgrades. But it comes with a price.

When you finally hit the level cap, you will then have to grind out all your Virtues and legendary quest traits. Also, you will be missing out on gaining reputation with many important factions in the game. Note that only a few Skirmishes are available to you at 30 so be prepared to grind the same ones over and over.

The best use of Skirmishes is to gain a few levels when you've hit a rough spot in the game. Out-leveled all the quests in your area, but still too low level to move to the next quest hub? Can't wait for that signature new skill, but still a few levels behind? Want to skip a hated zone entirely? Knock out a few levels with Skirmishes. But leveling simply through Skirmishes is going to leave you with a max level character that is crippled in many other areas. Use Skirmishes to get over some rough spots or to pick up some Skirmish Vendor rewards (like rare quest drops and crafting components.) But don't gimp your character by grinding these endlessly.

Best strats for getting Skirmish Marks fast
Player Antioch on the official forums follows up his subject header with "Help, the grind is killing me."

A general tip first. See that gold ring next to the Skirmish name in the Skirmish creation panel? That's the daily quest and it means you get extra marks for finishing it the first time that day. So don't run that Skirmish again until the next day. Move on to another Skirmish with a gold ring in the name. The extra 100 marks (at level 65) makes it worth it.

Another way to speed up the process is to not defend the NPCs helping you during the counterattack after claiming a control point. You'll lose some Skirmish marks for letting them die, but you can move much faster through certain Skirmishes, claim the daily reward and start a new one. This strat works in Thievery and Mischief as well as Trouble in Tuckborough.
What's the best way to get Legendary fragments from deconstructing Legendary items?
Player ArtfulDodger on the official forums has been leveling Legendary items to 11 and deconstructing them in hopes of getting Legendary fragments so he can craft his own LIs. He wants to know if it's worth it to level the items further before deconstructing.

The short answer is yes. At level 21, LIs have a better chance of deconstructing into fragments. At 31, you'll almost definitely get one and level 41+ you'll get multiple fragments. However the best answer came from player Westalia:

"If you're looking for fragments, max out a third age (61-65) and decon it. You'll get an XP rune from 368k-938k and get 5-7 fragments. You can reuse the XP rune (depending how large it is)and keep deconstructing to get more fragments if you need to. I've seen guaranteed fragments from deconstructing a level 36 LI (get 1 or 2).

If you get lucky and get a 938k, I would stick that in another legendary and max that out as well. You can get the skirmish marks/third marks to get 2 50k IXP runes, and just grind out the other 30k IXP by killing stuff in skirmishes. There, you got another 5-7 fragments.

So, just keep maxing legendaries depending on how many fragments you want to have and take advantage of the skirmishes and get some 50k runes if solo. You can change it up and run SH runs as well."


That's it for this edition of The Road to Mordor. But before I sign off for the week, I want to point you towards some great fan created content. The Casual Stroll to Mordor blog has put up two more Skirmish Cosmetic screenshot guides, this time for your Hobbit-lad or Dwarf-kind Soldier. CStM also has a two hour podcast with the LotRO Skirmish devs and the LotRO Reporter blog has their own podcast where they also talked to LotRO devs.

This article was originally published on Massively.